City Social Magazine

JUL-AUG 2017

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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41 redesigned home the "HoMotel." In Springfield, the Rail Haven opened its collection of stone cottages in 1938, allowing motorists to park their cars and enjoy a warm bed for the night, in addition to available gasoline and tire fixes. Eventually, the motel attracted the likes of Elvis and other personalities. Today, the HoMotel is gone but the Best Western owns the Rail Haven, offering visitors a flash from the past with the motel's retro neon sign, a breakfast area with classic television, historical pictures on guest room walls and the Elvis suite in Room 409 with its Cadillac bed and heart-shaped tub. The motel is now located on a commercial strip of the "Mother Road," and nearby are numerous car detailing shops, although we opted for the Urban Flea Market with its endless antiques at reasonable prices. Over in Carthage, Deborah Harvey and her sister Georgia have purchased the old Boots Court Motel, twice a stopping place for actor Clark Gable during World War II and again on June 6, 1947. The building began as a gas station in 1938 at the confluence of Route 66 and Hwy. 71. There were other gas stations around so the original owner removed the pumps and opened a motel featuring small guest rooms next to covered parking spaces for autos. The Harveys rent out five rooms with furnaces in the winter and all seven rooms in the summertime. There are only double beds and baths to each guest room, costing $66 a night for the double beds and twins (in honor of Route 66) and $71 per night for two beds per room (in honor of Hwy. 71). Visitors receive a trip back in time so don't expect TVs in the room. "What we try to do here is recreate the traveling experience of the 1940s," Deborah Harvey said. And yes, visitors may stay in the Clark Gable room, complete with 1940s décor. Where to eat One block from the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel is The Wheelhouse, a food truck that serves up Mexican and Asian dishes that sometimes fuse together in beautiful ways. Chef and owner Wes Johnson dishes up farm-to-table fare at the Metropolitan Farmer, and there's also a great view of the Ozarks from the third-floor bar. Café Cusco shares culinary styles of Peru and the Andes Mountains in a downtown Springfield space that's as eclectic and wonderful as the cuisine. For breakfast, the Aviary Café and Creperie will delight all tastes buds with its diverse menu and bird décor, but we especially loved our morning meal (don't bypass the sweet potato hash!) at The Order in the lobby of Hotel Vandivort, a gorgeous boutique hotel in the former Masonic building in downtown Springfield. What to see To get a great overview of Missouri's stretch of the historic road, visit the Route 66 Museum in Lebanon. Located in a former Kmart building, the museum showcases the chronology of America's highways, from the "good roads period" when people demanded something better than mud and rock thoroughfares, to tourist development and today. In Springfield, the car collection of Guy Mace will impress even those who don't know a condenser from a carburetor. Mace has collected more than 70 classic sports and collector cars, including a Batmobile and a "Ghostbusters" vehicle from the recent film. There are seven Jaguars, two Rolls Royces, a 1963 Morgan owned by Desert Storm's General Norman Schwarzkopf and the truck used in the film "Grapes of Wrath" with Henry Fonda—and so much more—beneath a 20,000-square-foot warehouse. Cheré Coen is a travel and food writer living in Lafayette. A native of New Orleans, she married her husband of 30 years in Rancho Cucamonga, California, one of the Route 66 towns. Two-person room at the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel in Springfield. The room that Clark Gable stayed in at the Boots Court Motel, complete with 1940s décor. Route 66 Museum; some of the matchbooks used at motor courts. Classic car at the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel in Springfield Old-fashioned gas pump at the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel.

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